What was a fairly drab affair, if truth be told, at Loftus Road resulted in the home side securing all three points courtesy of Idrissa Sylla’s 75th minute opener. Queens Park Rangers were just about good value for their win, as in the second half they created more chances, and forced Bristol City goalkeeper Frank Fielding into a couple of smart saves as well as hitting the crossbar via a deflected effort.
The first half was more even, with City going close through Lee Tomlin on two occasions. Bobby Reid almost put City in front, five minutes before QPR scored, as he Cruyff turned to check his man, and with only the ‘keeper to beat, Hoops stopper Alex Smithies pulled off a fine save. Such fine margins highlight on the one hand how close the game was, and secondly what a fairly poor 90 minutes of football it was.
However, QPR fans won’t care a jot as they have now won at home for the first time in the league since the opening day of the season. Bristol City drop to 6th, although they could fall further if results don’t go their way of teams around them with games in hand.
So here are three things we learnt from QPR 1-0 Bristol City…
QPR are slowly finding their feet
As aforementioned, this was QPR’s first win at home in the league since early August, and this win could not have come soon enough for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and his side. As the game wore on, it looked increasingly likely that there would be only one winner, and it was not the away side. As the 12,552 crowd (nearly 1,000 of which were travelling Bristol City fans) begun to find their voice in the second half, it seemed to spur on QPR. The Rs will be hoping for similar support and form in their next few games as they face Brentford in a west London derby on Friday 28th of this month, before also hosting Norwich City, Wolves, Derby County and Aston Villa in the next few months. Despite a fairly indifferent start, after this win QPR find themselves in 9th position, and only one point behind Bristol City who (at the time of writing) sit 6th. With a sustained run of form QPR should now be eyeing a tilt at the play-offs, especially given the strong nature of their squad.
Bristol City need another striker
Tammy Abraham is wonderful, yes. He is also human, just 19 years old and needs a rest. The problem is, Bristol City currently only have one other recognised striker ready to take his place – 36 year old Aaron Wilbraham. Whilst Wilbraham undoubtedly has his uses, he is not going to be able to match Abraham’s productivity and clinical finishing in front of goal. Swedish international Gustav Engvall signed for City this summer, but is yet to make a league appearance due to injury. Lee Johnson needs to do all he can to rush Engvall back to full fitness, or even play someone like Jamie Paterson or Lee Tomlin up front to save Abraham’s legs – City will get the best out of him if he plays at 100% and not anything below. That is a short term solution, in the longer term a striker needs to be at the top of Johnson’s shopping list in January.
Adam Matthews makes a welcome return
One positive from last night for Bristol City was the return of right back Adam Matthews who played 90 minutes, and was the best player in a red shirt on the pitch. The 24 year old Welsh international showed his class, looking calm on the ball and defensively solid at all times last night, including showing his pace by tracking back and bailing out a teammate on occasion. City now have Matthews, Mark Little and England U20 captain Taylor Moore vying for the right back jersey – such competition can only be a good thing for the Robins.
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